Both Sides, Now

Both Sides, Now

"Both Sides, Now"
Single by Judy Collins
from the album Wildflowers
B-side "Who Knows Where the Time Goes"
Released 1968
Format 7" single
Genre Folk, pop
Label Elektra
Writer(s) Joni Mitchell
Producer(s) Mark Abramson
Judy Collins singles chronology
"Hard Lovin' Loser"
"Both Sides, Now"
"Someday Soon"
Music sample
"Both Sides, Now"
Song by Joni Mitchell from the album Clouds
Released 1969 (1969)
Recorded A&M Studios, Hollywood, CA
Genre Folk rock
Language English
Length 4:32
Label Reprise
Writer Joni Mitchell
Composer Joni Mitchell
Producer Joni Mitchell, Paul A. Rothchild
Clouds track listing
"The Fiddle and the Drum"
"Both Sides, Now"

"Both Sides, Now" is a song by Joni Mitchell. Her recording first appeared on the album Clouds, released in 1969. She re-recorded the song in a lusher, more orchestrated version for the album Both Sides Now, released in 2000.

It is one of Mitchell's best-known songs (along with "Big Yellow Taxi", "Woodstock", and "A Case of You"). It was written in March 1967, inspired by a passage in Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow.

I was reading Saul Bellow's "Henderson the Rain King" on a plane and early in the book Henderson the Rain King is also up in a plane. He's on his way to Africa and he looks down and sees these clouds. I put down the book, looked out the window and saw clouds too, and I immediately started writing the song. I had no idea that the song would become as popular as it did.[1][2]

Judy Collins made the first commercially released recording of the song, shortly after Mitchell wrote it, first including it on her 1967 Wildflowers album. In October 1968 she released it as a single. In December it reached #8 on the U.S. pop singles charts, and in early 1969 won a Grammy Award for Best Folk Performance.[3] The record peaked at #3 on Billboard's Easy Listening survey and has become one of Collins' signature songs.

Fairport Convention recorded the song as a demo in 1967. The band's recording did not become available until 2000, however, when it appeared on The Guv'nor Vol 4 by Ashley Hutchings. (A live recording featuring Judy Dyble from 1981 is included on Fairport's Moat on the Ledge album.)

Both Joni Mitchell's album Both Sides Now and a 2003 Mitchell re-recording of the song are featured in the 2003 movie Love Actually.

Rolling Stone ranked "Both Sides, Now" #171 on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[4]

The song was published by Scholastic as a picture book, Both Sides Now, illustrated by Alan Baker, in 1992.[5]

A piano arrangement by Meredith White of the song was chosen as an examination piece in the 2011 & 2012 Piano Grade 3 Syllabus (List C, No. 3) by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music,[6] in an effort to incorporate more beginner-level pieces that appeal to adults.[7]

The Judy Collins recording of the song was featured in the closing moments of the Season 6 finale of the American television series Mad Men, an episode titled "In Care Of," which originally aired on AMC on June 23, 2013.[8]


  • Cover versions 1
    • 1960s 1.1
    • 1970s 1.2
    • 1980s 1.3
    • 1990s 1.4
    • 2000s 1.5
    • 2010s 1.6
  • References 2
  • External links 3

Cover versions




  • Paradox (夢劇院), a Hong Kong singing group, released a Cantonese version "The Color Theory of Relativity" (Chinese: 彩色相對論) in 1988 based on this song. They also recorded the same song in original lyrics. Both versions were released on their first two albums.


  • Michael Feinstein released a version of the song on the 1990 compilation, Rubáiyát, which celebrated the 40th anniversary of Elektra Records.
  • Clannad released a version as a duet with British singer Paul Young for the 1991 motion picture Switch. It was the only chart appearance for Clannad in the Canadian RPM 100 Singles Chart.
  • Hole released a version of the song on their 1991 debut album, Pretty on the Inside, under the title "Clouds".
  • b-flower released a version of the song on their 1994 album, Clover Chronicles l.
  • Dianne Reeves released a version of the song on her 1994 album, Quiet After the Storm.
  • Parasites released a version of the song on their 1994 album, Pair.
  • Randy Scruggs performed an instrumental version of the song on his 1998 album, Crown of Jewels.
  • The Boomtang Boys (1999)
  • Sharon Cuneta released a version of the song on her 1999 album, When I Love, and it was released as the album's lead-off single. The song was subsequently used as the theme for her 2001 movie, Magkapatid (Siblings).
  • Pat Martino released a version of the song with vocals by Cassandra Wilson on his 1997 album, All Sides Now.
  • On Sesame Street, Telly did a parody of the song called "Three Sides Now" as he sings about the shapes he loves, which are triangles.




  1. ^ Hilburn, Robert (December 8, 1996). "Both Sides, Later".  
  2. ^  
  3. ^ "Wildflowers - Judy Collins : Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "'"The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time: #171 Joni Mitchell, 'Both Sides,Now. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  5. ^ (ocm24629360)
  6. ^ "ABRSM Piano Syllabus 2011 & 2012".  
  7. ^ "ABRSM piano final".  
  8. ^ Stevenson, Seth. "Next season? Peggy in pantsuits, please". Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  9. ^ Good Morning StarshineOliver, Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  10. ^ "Tori Amos Song Summary". Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  11. ^ "Michael Lington - A Song for You". 
  12. ^ "A Song for You overview".  
  13. ^ Arno Billard (July 13, 2011). "ARIA Award winners The Idea of North announce new album and national tour". The AU Review. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 

External links